I'll be honest, I like TV. Now don't get me wrong, as an English major, I'll always prefer books. But there are times when I'm lazy, and I just don't feel like concentrating too hard. That's when I'll switch on the TV (or in all honesty, pirate something online, cuz that's just how I roll.)
But here's something I don't like. I don't always like how women are represented on television. I understand, it's hard. You want a character that's likable but you also want a character that's human. You want a character that can kick ass if need be, but you also want a character with vulnerability. For some reason, screenwriters can do it well with men and not so well with women. So here's my list of my favorite women on television.
1. Rory Gilmore from "Gilmore Girls"
I won't lie, when I was twelve years old, I wanted to BE Rory Gilmore. In some fashion, I still do. (Although I would've chosen Jess, cuz he was sooo much better than stupid Logan, JUST SAYING) She was relatable to me and to a lot of girls. She was bookish, she was quiet, the quintessential good girl. People thought she was shy but in actuality, she was loads of fun with a quick wit. Like I said. Relatable.
Rory also grows as a person. We see her fight with her mother, Lorelai, (who'd be on this list as well but I didn't have room) we celebrate when she gets into Yale, we wring our hands in anguish when she drops out for that short period of time. She makes mistakes but she learns from them and always manages to fix her life in time.
I think what I love about Rory is she's never let a guy decide her fate. She's been in relationship after relationship--but it's never affected her dreams in a negative way. She tried to make it work with Dean, she didn't run away with Jess when he asked her to (even though I sort of wanted her to and she kind of wanted to as well, she made the right decision, plus it forced Jess to grow up himself) and she DIDN'T marry Logan when she graduated from Yale. She's always known her own mind, which is something admirable in a female character.
2. Jo Harvelle from "Supernatural"
There was a LOT of Jo hate when she first appeared on the show, but I loved her. She was badass, she didn't take any crap, and she handled a shotgun beautifully. She also punched Dean, which is just sort of amazing in itself.
Jo can also hold her own. I'm pretty sure she could out-hunt Dean and Sam and she also managed to convince her mother that she could be a hunter. Trust me, Ellen Harvelle is a tough nut to crack. She also deserves a place on this list--maybe I should make a list of most awesome TV moms. We shall see.
In any case, Jo is also brave. She died a hero, saving her friends. That scene still tears me up.
3. Samantha Jones from "Sex and the City"
Here's the thing about Sex and the City.
It's kind of a dumb show.
I know, I'm shocked too. With a name like Sex and the City, you were probably expecting the height of intellectualism.
SATC is my indulgence show. I can pull out excuses for Gilmore Girls--smart dialogue, hilarious references--and Supernatural--amazing plot, great setting, fabulous music, intriguing characters. I don't have excuses for SATC and I don't need them. This is the show where after a hard day of using my brain, I turn it off, order Chinese, and watch.
I could go on a full rant on how this show pretends to be feminist and women friendly when in actuality, not one of the episodes has EVER passed the Bechdel test, but that's another blog for another time.
Samantha Jones is probably the only one of the four female protagonists that does not get on my nerves on an episodic basis. She is smart, she is loads of fun, she's confident, and she has a very firm idea on who she is. Her boldness and charm are refreshing--she doesn't seem fake. I like that about her.
There are also definite flaws to Samantha's character. (I like characters with flaws.) She very rarely lets herself be vulnerable and she hides her insecurities in series of flings. But I also love how defensive she is of her friends. She's loyal to the end--not afraid to tell off one of Carrie's more manipulative exes and perfectly willing to yell at a frenemy who 'stole Charlotte's baby name.' A testament to her character, since Samantha loathes children. All in all, she's a well-rounded character, and while certainly not feminist, still enjoyable to watch.
4. Arya Stark from "Game of Thrones"
I love Game of Thrones. I love its plot, the characters, ESPECIALLY the portrayal of women. We have the women who play by the rules, Danaerys, Cat Stark. And we have the women who do NOT play by the rules. Like Arya here.
Don't be fooled by her adorable-ness. She is slowly learning how to kill. She is a force to be reckoned with. I love how she's challenging the established rules for women. That kicks ass, guys. There's only been ten episodes of GoT, so we're still watching the characters evolve. But I feel there will be good things in Arya's future.
5. Brooke Davis from "One Tree Hill"
I have a lot of issues with One Tree Hill. But one thing has been consistent about this show--I've always loved Brooke Davis. She's savvy, she's stylish, confident, and best of all, evolved. She grows sooo much from her early days. She has such a warm and loving personality, as well as being strong and tough when she needs to be. She has enough grace to forgive Peyton for betraying her--multiple times I might add--and she lives life by her own terms. I think what impressed me the most about Brooke Davis was her reasoning for returning to Tree Hill in season 5. Peyton came back for a boy, Brooke came back to start a new life. That's impressive.
I also love the growth of her relationships with men on the show. They started out from being purely physical, to puppy love, back to physical (to keep her heart from being broken again) to true love, and then to adult love. I wasn't totally sure about how she fell in love with Julian, because in all honesty, I was getting sick and tired of her getting Peyton's castoffs--but their relationship won me over, especially Brooke's line about always being a footnote in someone else's love story. Sigh.
Keep being awesome, Brooke Davis.